Reader Question: I have a 1991 Ford Ranger Pickup with power steering and manual transmission. I have two problems, which maybe related.
First, my truck pulls to the left. I have new calipers/pads, drum shoes/hardware/wheel cylinders, antilock valve, new tires, and verified the alignment. I have rotated the tires from left to right then front to back, and still it pulls fairly hard to the left. Can a steering gear box cause a vehicle to pull?
Second, truck pulls to the left when applying the brake pedal at all times.
Also, I feel something moving when applying the brakes as if only the fronts are working.
This only occurs under two conditions:
1. When I apply the brakes initial after the truck has set for a couple of days and I essentially pump them up, then they are solid.
2. After driving for about 30 minutes I feel clunking in the front end like something is moving. I have checked the front end and had a professional do the same before alignment, everything is tight, and alignment numbers are good.
Some say it could be a clogged brake line to the right front; I have bled the system many times getting a strong stream from all brakes including the right front.
Could a bad gearbox be the problem and the brake pull is just appearing to be present? Could it be to fix the pull and the brake pull will go away as well?
Is the steering wheel centered when the vehicle is traveling straight down the highway? If its not, crooked and when you straighten the steering wheel, it moves the direction of the vehicle you need to have ANOTHER mechanic check the front end for you.
Your gearbox could be a little worn, but you should be able to tighten the gear “lash” and make the steering tighter. If the steering wheel is off center, you either have a tire that is the wrong size, the steering gear box has an internal problem (might be adjustable though) or there is a front-end linkage or frame problem.
The brake pull does sound like a bad front brake hose…probably a problem with the RIGHT side hose, but you should replace them as a pair both left and right together.
These trucks along with the Explorer had problems with the radius rod bushings wearing out, which causes a pull in the front end and a clunk noise on final braking and when going over bumps.
I would probably visit another repair shop and get another alignment and front-end inspection before I did anything else. I just have a feeling they are over looking something with the front end, like a worn out radius rod bushing or something along those lines.